Ask D: Iowa Mailbag April 4

Check out this week's version of the Iowa Hawkeye Insider Mailbag as Derek Young answers all your questions.

WILL MATT VANDEBERG REMAIN IN THE SLOT OR MOVE OUTSIDE?

I think VandeBerg definitely stays in the slot. He doesn't have the weight or the strength to hang out on the outside on a regular basis. I think the same can be said for Riley McCarron despite him being the replacement for Jacob Hillyer on the depth chart. The outside receivers should be Jerminic Smith and then one of Adrian Falconer, Jay Scheel, or Jonathan Parker.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO BO BOWER? HE HAS GONE FROM STARTER TWO YEARS AGO, TO BACK-UP LAST YEAR, AND NOW APPEARS TO BE A BACK-UP AGAIN. HAVE MENDS AND HOCKADAY SIMPLY OUTPLAYED HIM?

The one open linebacker spot entering last year was weakside linebacker and that is when Cole Fisher finally took off and emerged. Fisher played so well in fall camp that they couldn't keep him from the spot. I think the Iowa staff then decided that Bower was more suited for the LEO linebacker position so he's been pigeon holed there. That's Ben Niemann's job so Bower just becomes the first off the bench. Mends and Hockaday haven't exactly outplayed him but their skill set is suited for the weak side position more than Bower's are.

ARE YOU AS CONCERNED ABOUT THE WIDE RECEIVER SPOTS AS I AM? YOUR THOUGHTS ON JERMINIC SMITH AND ADRIAN FALCONER? WIDE RECEIVERS REALLY HAD SEPARATION PROBLEMS LAST YEAR. WILL THESE GUYS HAVE MORE SUCCESS THIS COMING SEASON? MAKES IT TOUGHER ON BEATHARD.

I don't get really concerned because I'm not an Iowa fan or an Iowa coach. I just cover the team. But it is one question mark for this team. I think Jerminic Smith has great potential but he's probably a year away from becoming a great player. He'll flash this year but there's likely some growing pains still with it being his first year as a starter. The same goes for Adrian Falconer who needs to become more consistent. He flashes too in practice but he needs to continue to develop as he's not as polished as Jerminic. They both have great potential but they're also young. That might be the only thing holding them back at this point. 

Tevaun Smith was a very good player so it's hard to expect more success than what he put forth. Folks may have took him for granted. He also garnered a lot of attention as the only deep threat on the team. I do think someone like Falconer or Scheel could be better at getting separation than Jacob Hillyer was. Hillyer's skill set that got him in the lineup was about doing the little things in terms of knowing the offense inside and out, run blocking, and being reliable. The receivers in line to replace him are probably a bit different in that they are more explosive in actually making plays downfield, but less consistent and not as sharp in all the other areas that Hillyer was.

DOES IOWA HAVE A REALISTIC CHANCE TO LAND POINT GUARD CHRISTIAN VITAL AND HOW DO WE FIND A SCHOLARSHIP FOR HIM?

I've said it before but I don't think Vital is a point guard. I think he's more of a 2-guard. Iowa could likely add him to fill in if Peter Jok was to surprise and enter the NBA early or add depth with Andrew Fleming transferring out. Obviously, there's two open scholarships now so that part of it won't be a problem.

WHO WILL BE THE NEW POINT GUARD WITH THE OPEN SCHOLARSHIP?

Right now Christian Williams will be the point guard. Maybe Jordan Bohannon gets an opportunity to challenge for the spot when he arrives. In terms of adding another before the 2016-2017 season comes around, the search is still likely on. Vital is a name being floated but he's more of a 2-guard. More transfers and more JUCOs will come to light in the subsequent weeks as the market will continue to add new available names throughout the next month or so.

HOW DOES SOMEONE GO FROM A 'HOT PROSPECT' ON RECRUITING THERMOMETER 5.0 TO A MICHIGAN STATE COMMIT SO QUICKLY? (ROCKY LOMBARDI)

Iowa only recruited him as an athlete while Michigan State offered him as a quarterback and they had recruited him for about just as long as Iowa and Iowa State did. They liked Lombardi for quite a while and eventually sent out the offer almost two weeks ago. Once he set up his visit after the thermometer was released, that was the final move for him to jump on board for the Spartans. It happened quickly and most of that came after the thermometer was posted.

DID IOWA MAKE A MISTAKE IN RECRUITING ROCKY LOMBARDI AS AN ATHLETE RATHER THAN A QUARTERBACK? 

It likely was a significant reason why he chose Michigan State instead but you can't blame for Iowa for not offering him at that spot if they thought his talents and skills were better suited at another position.

DOES IOWA REALLY WANT/NEED A QUARTERBACK IN THIS CLASS? IF SO, WHO IS THE BACK-UP PROSPECT? IF IOWA WAS RECRUITING HIM AS AN ATHLETE, I QUESTION HOW SERIOUS THEY ARE ABOUT WANTING A QUARTERBACK IN THIS CLASS.

Yes. You always want to try and land a quarterback in every class. Attrition hits the quarterback spot hard. It is very unlikely that Boyle, Cook, and Stanley all stay at Iowa for the full four years. If Stanley gets the nod over Boyle and Cook, they'd look to go somewhere else or move to a different position. Stanley won't wait until his senior start so if he has to do that, he would probably look elsewhere as well. You have to be ready for everything and prepare yourself for everything at the quarterback spot.

IF IOWA AND MICHIGAN STATE WERE BOTH RECRUITING LOMBARDI AS AN ATHLETE, I WONDER WHAT THE TIPPING POINT WAS?

It was two things. Michigan State actually pursued him at quarterback and the Spartans had been on him for a long time despite not offering until recently.

I JUST WONDERED WITH MICHIGAN ADDING ANOTHER RUNNING BACK COMMITMENT, IF THAT BUMPED UP ENO BENJAMIN'S DECISION A BIT?

It probably makes his decision much easier but I think he was looking to make his college choice in the near future before they added their third running back to the class. Michigan likely won't keep all three of Kurt Taylor, O'Maury Samuels, and A.J. Dillon but they could keep two and that will keep other running backs away for the most part. 

WHAT ARE IOWA'S CHANCES WITH SPIRIT LAKE OFFENSIVE TACKLE ZACH DYKSTRA?

Hawkeye. Probably before the summer. 


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